Mitsubishi turbine for Texas power plant

By Jack Burke19 January 2021

Facility also adding renewable energy

El Paso Electric (EPE) said it has selected Mitsubishi Power’s 228 MW Smart M501GAC enhanced-response (SmartER) gas turbine as part of EPE’s long-term energy supply resource plan to make its power generation cleaner and more sustainable.

El Paso Electric selected Mitsubishi Power’s Smart M501GAC enhanced response gas turbine to help enable cleaner and more sustainable power generation. The gas turbine complements renewable energy sources with rapid response to variability and offers hydrogen-capability for future deep decarbonization.

This gas turbine will enable EPE to triple its renewable energy portfolio and reduce carbon emissions. The SmartER M501GAC complements renewable energy sources by starting up and shutting down rapidly to respond to customer energy usage and renewable energy variability. The gas turbine will replace three units EPE has deemed less efficient and less reliable after more than 60 years in operation. In addition, the gas turbine is hydrogen-ready for future deep decarbonization—New Mexico is moving toward 100% carbon-free emissions by 2045.

The gas turbine is capable of operating on natural gas, or on a mixture of natural gas and up to 30% hydrogen for further decarbonization. The gas turbine also can be configured in the future to operate on up to 100% hydrogen for zero-carbon emissions. EPE and Mitsubishi Power are exploring a joint development agreement in the coming months to create a green hydrogen infrastructure roadmap.

EPE is adding 200 MW of large-scale solar power and 50 MW of battery storage at the same time and is counting on the gas turbine’s rapid dispatch capability to respond to the intermittency of these renewables. The gas turbine’s quick startup and fast ramp rate will ensure grid stability and enable EPE to maximize power generation. The gas turbine combined with the renewable resources is expected to save 600 million gallons of water per year of water, which is a precious resource in EPE’s arid region.

The SmartER M501GAC is an integration of Mitsubishi Power’s reliable G-Series turbine technology, which has amassed 5.7 million operating hours, and its TOMONI digital solutions that provide analytics and artificial intelligence. Mitsubishi Power has implemented improvements at gas turbine plants worldwide to achieve faster startup, faster ramp rates, and better efficiency.

“To help achieve our bold vision of reducing our carbon footprint 40% below 2015 levels by 2035, we sought a partner that could deliver a gas turbine with flexible and reliable power to complement renewables, as well as deep industry expertise in renewable integration,” said Steve Buraczyk, senior vice president of Operations at El Paso Electric. “Mitsubishi Power delivers both. The G-Series advanced class gas turbines offer flexibility and a proven record. Those features combined with Mitsubishi Power’s extensive experience as a systems integrator and its advanced hydrogen-capable gas turbine design made Mitsubishi Power’s solution our top choice.”

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